THE Big Freeze continued to grip Eastbourne as temperatures plummeted, snow fell and roads were covered in sheets of ice.
At nearby Herstmonceux a 31-year-old being treated for life-threatening injuries following a crash died after the ambulance he was travelling in left the icy road and collided with a bush.
Emergency services were called to Boreham Street at around 2.30pm on Friday, December 17, after Daniel Martin, of Grange Close, Horam, who was driving a Mini, collided with a truck carrying road equipment on behalf of East Sussex County Council.
Due to the severity of his injuries, both ambulance crew members treated Mr Martin while a road policing officer drove it to hospital.
But the ambulance partially left the road in the icy conditions and collided with a bush on Standard Hill, Ninfield.
The police helicopter and Kent Air Ambulance attended the scene of the second collision, where Mr Martin was pronounced dead.
Detective chief inspector Mike Ashcroft said, “This is a complex series of interlinked events, which happened during adverse weather conditions.
“A detailed investigation involving forensic collision investigators is continuing against a backdrop of worsening weather.
“We will be thoroughly looking at the circumstances leading to both collisions, considering road and weather conditions, and consulting medical experts.
“I would urge anyone who could help us better understand what happened to get in touch.”
A 36-year-old man from St Leonards-on-Sea, who was driving the truck from the first crash, was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving.
One of the ambulance crew was treated at hospital for minor injuries sustained in the second crash.
In Eastbourne, a dog owner leapt into a freezing lake to rescue his dog on Monday morning.
The man jumped into the icy waters near Sevenoaks Road, Langney, at about 10.30am.
Firefighters were able to rescue the pet but, despite trying to warm it with their tunics for about 15 minutes, it later died at St Anne’s Vets. The owner did not require treatment.
East Sussex County Council says it is doing everything it can to clear ice from the roads but is asking drivers to take care in the treacherous conditions.
A council spokesperson said nearly a thousand miles of roads in East Sussex had been gritted over the weekend.
The spokesperson added, “We cannot guarantee treated roads will always be completely clear.
“It takes time for salt to become effective, and in very cold weather even salt won’t prevent roads from icing.”
The snowfall at the end of November and early December meant businesses in the area suffered significant losses but the county council says it is doing everything it can to help.
A council spokesperson said, “At the weekend we distributed more than 40 large hippo bags containing tonnes of gritting salt at central locations in towns and larger villages across East Sussex.
“We hope people have been able to use this grit to help clear pavements, shopping streets and community areas during one of the busiest weekends in the run up to Christmas.”
Weather forecasters say temperatures are expected to remain low throughout the week with the possibility of more wintry showers.